Twenty-five participants in the District of Columbia Housing Authority’s Modified Apprenticeship Training Program graduated in a hybrid online and in-person ceremony on November 17.
“What a big day and how proud you should be of yourselves,” said DCHA Executive Director Brenda Donald, who noted the apprentices have gained skills, experience, and friendships through the program. “This is an important step into a journey you will continue for the rest of your lives.”
The six-month program, or ATP, provides participants an opportunity to become work ready while creating a pipeline of applicants who are attractive to employers, including DCHA and its contractors. Throughout ATP, apprentices learn light maintenance, landscaping, painting, carpentry, electrical, and other projects that will improve the curb appeal of DCHA communities.
The graduation took place during Washington, D.C. Apprenticeship Week, celebrated in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Labor’s National Apprenticeship Week. Mayor Muriel Bowser, joined by members of the D.C. Department of Employment Services, officially marked the week of November 15-21, 2021 with a proclamation on Monday.
“I hope you take all of the skills you’ve acquired here into the world,” said DCHA Property Management Operations Acting Director Brandy Lynch to the graduates. “I challenge you to let nothing or no one stand in your way.”
Lynch and other speakers also encouraged the apprentices to mentor young people so they can receive the same kind of help on their journeys.
“Always be ready. Always be on time. Always look out for your brothers and sisters. This is a family program. You guys had an opportunity to change your life,” said Douglas Moody, DCHA’s chief of Facility Maintenance.
Moody noted that in addition to teaching the participants trades, the instructors should receive special thanks for going above and beyond – by assisting apprentices with clothes for interviews and supplying proper work shoes, for example.
One graduate, Shannon Mann, agreed and said, “We can’t forget about our instructors…The experiences and lessons we learned from this program we will take with us.”
During the ATP ceremony, apprentices heard from speakers who encouraged them to build on their success. Several apprentices were honored with Apprentice of the Month awards.
One standout, Aaron Fulmore, was named Apprentice of the Program. He was told he received a full-time job with DCHA and will be able to report to work on Monday.
At the end of this year’s ATP program, a Section 3 virtual job fair for the ATP team was held on November 12. DCHA will continue to provide supportive services the graduates may need following graduation.
For more information about DCHA’s Workforce Development Initiative, please call the EnVision Center at (202) 645-5023. DCHA will begin recruitment efforts for the next cohort of ATP in March.